The Rays have been linked to several names as we near the July 31 free agency deadline. But the one name that lingers is Jayson Werth.
We learned earlier this week that the Phillies are pushing hard for Roy Oswalt, but that they would need to move Werth in order to make the move. Several people have said the Rays are the leading candidate to acquire Werth. But until now, we could only guess what the Phillies and Astros would want included in the three-team swap.
Now Jayson Stark reports that the Phillies asked the Rays for either BJ Upton or Wade Davis in exchange for Werth. We are guessing they got a quick “no.”
And Jon Heyman later added what we assumed yesterday, that the Rays would receive Werth in exchange for prospects that would go to Houston. However, there is still no word on what prospects are being requested.
So was Stark wrong? Not necessarily. The Phillies probably first came to the Rays wondering if they could get some big league talent in exchange for Werth. With the Rays obviously in the playoff hunt, that was probably quickly rebuked. At that point, Philadelphia may have realized the only way to make it work would be to send prospects from the Rays to the Astros.
But what prospects would the Astros want? Obviously they are asking for Desmond Jennings or Jeremy Hellickson. Our guess is that the Rays are offering two or three top pitching prospects from the lower levels (Nick Barnese? Alex Colome?).
Usually, by the time we hear a trade rumor, the Rays have already moved on to something else. But the more we hear Werth’s name, the more we believe this one has legs. Now it is just a matter of whether the other teams will come down to the Rays’ price. Because the Rays are not likely to go to theirs.